Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury can result in paralysis of the muscles used for breathing; paralysis and/or loss of feeling in all or some of the trunk, arms, and legs; weakness; numbness; loss of bowel and bladder control; and numerous secondary conditions including respiratory problems, pressure sores, and sometimes fatal spikes in blood pressure. Approximately 12,000 new spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. each year. A majority of injuries occur from motor vehicle accidents, falls, work-related accidents, sports injuries, and penetrations such as stab or gunshot wounds.

Our Membership Community

Our membership community provides a lifeline for many individuals that are focused on regaining their independence and improving their quality of life––whether they are leaving rehab after sustaining a spinal cord injury, learning to live with symptoms of a spinal cord disorder, or have spent years of frustration coping with disability. We provide members guidance and resources on a variety of topics they are passionate about, such as employment, affordable housing, transportation, health care, home- and community-based independent living, education, peer support, and leisure and recreation.

Ask Us

United Spinal’s Ask Us program connects you with information, resources, and access to our “Ask Us Spinal Cord Central” help center. Browse the Knowledge Books below for answers to your questions. If you can’t find what you are looking for just Ask Us and one of our knowledgeable staff will provide you with answers.
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Services 2016-12-31T02:26:38+00:00

United Spinal’s services enable people living with SCI/D to pursue rewarding lives and careers.

Accessiblity Services

It’s vital that our built environment is accessible to people living with disabilities so that they can be active members of their communities and live with greater independence. Our Accessibility Services program provides consulting services devoted exclusively to making our built environment accessible to people with disabilities. Our goal is to assist property owners and designers as they navigate the myriad of accessibility requirements that apply to any given facility – both at the state and federal levels – accessibility consulting including plan review, site assessment and training. Our group of professionals, including certified accessibility specialists, plan examiners, attorneys, architects and code enforcement officials is skilled in applying state and federal accessibility requirements, including, American with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing, Section 504 and state/local accessibility requirements to any project.

Ask Us
When someone is spinal cord injured or diagnosed with a spinal cord disease, there can be a great deal of uncertainty and an overwhelming amount of questions. Our Ask Us program offers members and the public an opportunity to obtain one-on-one information and guidance through a fast and easy online form. Serving over 5,500 individuals annually, Ask Us makes it convenient to get the help they need without having to search the Web or make phone calls. Unlike other online support desks that offer automated, canned replies, Ask Us takes a much more unconventional and personal approach in responding to all inquiries.

Ask Us About:
Spinal Cord Injury & Disease
Veterans Benefits
Wheelchairs & Assistive Technology

Peer Support
There is no greater support than that of your peers. Connecting newly injured or diagnosed individuals with others who not only understand their issues but how to overcome them is extremely valuable. It can change someone’s state of mind, provide a positive outlook and lead to new opportunities that were never even considered possible.

Our network of affiliated support groups provide peer-to-peer support to persons with SCI/D, caregivers, and family members. In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help for shared purposes. The help can take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others’ experiences, educating and guiding, or for providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. Support Groups may each have their own way of accomplishing their mission but all of them share the same goal of improving the lives of participants. Learn more.

New Beginning Backpack Initiative
New Beginning is a nationwide initiative that empowers individuals to overcome the wide-range of challenges that accompany living with a spinal cord injury or disorder. We distribute backpacks filled with information and resources to people newly injured or diagnosed that are leaving hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. They serve to help people find quality healthcare and resources; employment opportunities and education; choose the proper adaptive equipment and home modifications; locate peer support groups; and find a new beginning. Learn more.

Public Policy
United Spinal is committed to advancing public policies that lead to greater civil rights and independence for people with disabilities. We believe the disability community must be part of the legislative dialogue when policies are created that impact our lives and well-being. We empower individuals to use their voice and personal experiences living with a disability to seek positive change. Throughout our history, we have advocated on behalf of individuals living with SCI/D through state and federal legislation and accessibility litigation in the courts. Our members know that we are on their side, and will remain there until our support is no longer needed.

By leveraging all of our resources, we have stronger involvement in community affairs and more opportunities to advance public policies. This allows us to form key alliances that expand the reach of our mission. Our public policy initiatives focus on expanding education and employment, improving enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ensuring adequate access to public transportation and taxi services, and amending Medicare rules that restrict many individuals to their homes and nursing facilities.

We believe in:

• Access to Quality Affordable Healthcare
• Employment Opportunities, Self Sufficiency and Independent Living
• Consumer Directed Quality Health Care and Community Integration
• Preservation of Social Security Benefits
• Protecting the Rights of People with Disabilities

Learn more about our Public Policy Priorities.

Veterans Assistance

We serve our nation veterans as proudly as they have served us. These brave men and women need our support in reintegrating back into their communities. United Spinal directly assists veterans and their eligible family members in obtaining the benefits they are entitled to, deserve and need. We advocate nationally for all generations of veterans, including individuals living with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. Our advocacy efforts go far beyond offering words of support and encouragement. We take this fight to Capitol Hill to bring attention to issues that matter most to the men and women who proudly served our country.

Our VetsFirst program’s network of National Service Officers provides free assistance, resources, and representation for veterans struggling to navigate the intricate and often confusing VA claims process. We connect with over 2,000 veterans annually through our call center and online help desk. We offer assistance and representation in claims for benefits and services before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, other Federal and state agencies and legal representation before the U. S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Wheelchair Advocacy

United Spinal advocates for greater access to appropriate wheelchairs, mobility scooters and seating systems for people with disabilities. We reject the one-size-fits-all perception of mobility equipment. We believe that having the right wheelchair is fundamental in maintaining health, quality of life, and independence.

Our UsersFirst program is committed to helping people with disabilities obtain the right wheelchairs, mobility scooters and seating systems by:

• Nurturing self-advocacy.
• Improving access to funding.
• Taking the fight to Capitol Hill.
• Improving access to proper evaluations.
• Holding equipment dealers and manufacturers accountable in maintaining the highest standards in customer service and support.

Wheelchair Repair

United Spinal’s Wheelchair Medic program keeps our members’ wheelchairs and other mobility equipment functioning as good as new. One of the largest mobility repair programs in the nation, Wheelchair Medic operates a fleet of repair vehicles that provide door-to-door service in the Greater New York City area.